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The Police seek assistance from townspeople

VPRS 4965 Consignment P0 Unit 6 Item 39 Record 1 Document: From ACP Nicolson to Beechworth Police: Circular sent seeking assistance from townspeople

20/01/1880

Overview

This is one of a number of circulars signed by Assistant Commissioner of Police Nicolson and addressed to various police stations throughout north-eastern Victoria. The aim of the circular was to mobilise assistance for the police in the event of an attack by the Kelly Gang. The circular avoids saying directly that it is an appeal for armed support. If it became public knowledge that the police were trying to recruit armed civilians for a possible stand-off with the gang, this would undoubtedly have exacerbated tensions, and would not have improved the widespread poor opinion of the police’s effectiveness in the hunt. Nevertheless the widespread use by the police of informers and agents demonstrates that many in the northeastern community did not see quasi-military activity as unacceptable.

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[Confidential]

[Y674}

Police Department
Superintendent’s Office
Benalla 20.1.80Memo,At every Township in the North Eastern District where there is treasure stored, and therefore liable to a raid from the Outlaws it is advisable for the Police to endeavour to arrange, with a few suitable persons to assist there in the event of an attack The Members of the force in charge of the stations referred to will require to perform the above work in a very careful and circumspect manner, seeing that none are asked “but of the right sort” and who will turn out with a will when wanted It may also be advisable not to allow the names to become public of such Volunteers least they should be subjected to annoyance, or insult from ill disposed persons I suppose the Volunteers referred to can procure their own armsC.H Nicolson
Asst. Commr. Of Police

[End of page 4]

VPRS 4965 Consignment P0 Unit 6 Item 39 Record 1 Document: From ACP Nicolson to Beechworth Police: Circular sent seeking assistance from townspeople

From Constable McGuirk re: Arming of townspeople

VPRS 4965 Consignment P0 Unit 6 Item 39 Record 1 Document: From Constable McGuirk re: Arming of townspeople

26/01/1880

Overview

This report, dated 26 January 1880, is from Constable McGuirk of the Euroa police station. It is his response to the circular sent by ACP Nicolson, seeking assistance from townspeople in event of an attack from the Kelly Gang. McGuirk indicates that he has been able to recruit two men from the town, who would “assist” if they were supplied with firearms. McGuirk seems to be saying at the end of this report that the better-armed element of the town were also more likely to sympathise with the Gang.

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CH Nicolson
ACP
Benalla

VICTORIA POLICE
North Eastern Police District
Euroa Station
January 26th 1880REPORT of Henry McGuirk Relative to Arming of Townspeople
Re correspondence attachedI beg to report that I have Spoken to Mr Sutherland who is a Hotel Keeper viz North Eastern hotel & close to the Bank he is quite willing to assist the police in the event of an attack provided he is supplied with firearms he states his only offer- were he to assist the police as he personally has nothing to loose he has no firearms of his own – I also spoke to a Shoemaker named Elliott he being trustworthy man and an old Soldier he states that he is quite willing to assist police provided he is supplied with arms he having none of his own both he and Mr Sutherland wish me to state that – if they are supplied with arms they will keep them in perfect order and no person shall know

[End of page 13]

VPRS 4965 Consignment P0 Unit 6 Item 39 Record 1 Document: From Constable McGuirk re: Arming of townspeople


know that they have them until they are wanted for use I may say these are the only persons I have spoken to on the Subject but I may be able to pick out another one or two suitable persons within a few days –I may say that- very few persons in this Township have firearms and those that have then I am afraid would not use them when required

Henry McGuirk
? 2248

[End of page 13 reverse]

VPRS 4965 Consignment P0 Unit 6 Item 39 Record 1 Document: From Constable McGuirk re: Arming of townspeople

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